Originally Posted by Shikamaru
It was almost never a trilogy either. Nolan wasn't sure whether or not he wanted to come back after BB and then after TDK. Heck, he barely came back after TDK and many people were surprised he did. You also have quotes from him like the one from when he was asked about Robin. He said Robin wouldn't appear for a few movies because Bale was still portraying a "young Batman" and Robin would still be a little kid. It wasn't until TDKR when the whole "this was always meant to be a trilogy!" and "end of the epic trilogy!" thing came along. Like I said earlier, BB and TDK were not building a trilogy but a franchise with themes like the whole "freaks" theme and the whole "this is the young Year One Batman" theme, and if they were supposed to build a trilogy, they did not succeed at that IMO because it is not a proper three-act trilogy.
Shika...I don't have the time right now to respond to your whole post, but just a couple of things:
1. I think you're taking Nolan far too literally about the Robin not appearing for a few movies quote. Yes, Nolan said that but did anyone ever really take that to mean Nolan wanted to setup a franchise that would have an infinite number of films? The whole idea of Batman setting up a larger Batman universe that could expand film after film died with Harvey Dent IMO. The Robin quote is just a jokey way of saying that he didn't have any plans to use Robin. He also joked about Frankie Munez playing the role.
2. All I can say is I whole heartedly disagree, I think The Dark Knight trilogy fits the three act trilogy like a glove, and it's my favorite trilogy of all time. A big part of why is because
it wasn't all planned out from the beginning, yet it feels so natural. It was allowed to grow with the actors as the filmmakers as it went along. But, really, how can you deny that there was the skeleton of a trilogy from the start based on these quotes:
"Endings are very important. I don't embark on a project if I don't have a very strong sense of how things are going to end. That's been the case with all three films and very much so with The Dark Knight Rises- because the entire story arc is ending with this film. And so, even as we started to develop the story, we had a very strong sense of what the ending of the movie would be. We came up with it several years ago, in fact, and everything had been building toward that conclusion."
-TDK trilogy book
Having revisited all the films, it strikes me that unless you have a great poker face these films were conceived as a trilogy, despite some claims to the contrary.
[Laughs] Well it's a bit of both. I'm often asked if we'll do a trilogy with relation to "Dark Knight Rises" and it's a complicated question to answer because the truth is when we took on the character, you know that there is a potential for sequels... So David Goyer and I at a very early stage, were just throwing ideas around for "Batman Begins" and just exploring the character. We did loosely talk about where you would go for other sequels, and to us, that was a trilogy because a story has a beginning, middle and an end. But very early on we shut that down and said, “Yes and no.” It was in the back of our minds, but if we said anything, or held anything back consciously we were going to be making less of a movie than we could. So with “Batman Begins,” I thought everybody just pretty much was thinking about that movie. When it was finished we said, “Okay we have the loose arc of what the trilogy would be as a story.”
-The Playlist interview
I'm sorry, but unless you're calling Nolan a liar, it's all right there. He's admitting that they put all their ideas into each film as they went but at the same time it's clear that there was a rough idea to do a trilogy, and that it would have a definite ending. I don't buy this idea that they were setting up an ongoing franchise. A LOT of fans were thinking of this in terms of a trilogy too from the start. I don't know how anyone could have been blindsided by that. Nolan's a storyteller, not a hired gun who was just building a franchise for WB to later exploit.
And with regards to Star Wars, plenty changed along the way. Obi-Wan was not originally supposed to die in Episode IV, which is what led to the creation of Yoda. Luke and Leia were not originally meant to be twins. That's just naming a couple of big ones, but rest assured plenty of blanks of the specifics were filled along the way. I just think this "they didn't plan all three movies from the start so it's not a real trilogy" is bogus. You didn't like the direction they went for TDKR, that's fine. But I think some TDKR critics just try too hard in their attempts to understand what "went wrong", and paint this picture of TDKR being this movie that was never supposed to happen. It was completely organic. A product of team Nolan's creative process and them living and breathing the story as it was being told. I don't think the trilogy would be any more "valid" if they had plotted out all three movies in 2004. I think that'd be way more contrived actually.
Furthermore, with regards to the ending...look, I get where you're coming from. But I don't like the attitude that people who like the ending don't get what Batman's all about and "oh the true Batman wouldn't do this or that". This was a specific interpretation of the mythos. Its own thing. I took it in as such. IMO, after everything Bruce did for Gotham he more than earned his retirement. It has nothing to do with the amount of nights spent in the cowl. He gave his city everything- mind, body and spirit. This is the one version of the mythos where we had the opportunity to see Bruce get an actual GOOD happy ending, not a "good enough" one. And I applaud Nolan for having the balls to do it. Having been a Batman fan for my whole life, this shot warms my heart like you can't imagine.
We may go the rest of our lives without ever seeing that again in a Batman story. This series took us to some very, very dark places and then gave us a real sense of triumph at the end. This has nothing to do with "what Batman would do" or being a purist about the character. It has to do with the raw emotional reaction of sitting there in the movie theater, putting aside my personal ideas and preconceptions about Batman and just going where the movie took me. And I loved where it took me. It took me to unexpected places. And the idea of the darkest hero of them all being able to actually rise above the tragedy that dominated his life is incredibly inspiring to me.